Stargazers Rejoice: The Skies Are Going Buck Wild tonight

Stargazers, you’re going to want to try to get outside tonight. 

What’s on tap, you ask? 

We’ve got a full moon — the Snow Moon, according to the wonderfully poetic Algonquin names for the lunar phases. That full moon will go into eclipse this evening. It’s a penumbral eclipse, not a full one, meaning that the shadow of the Earth will block some of the sun’s rays — leaving the moon a darker shade than usual. If you’re reading this in North America, you’ll see it (if clouds agree). 

After that, we’ve got the flyby of a comet: Comet 45P, which will make its closest approach to Earth this weekend, at 7.4 million miles. You’ll be able to see it around 3 A.M., in the constellation Hercules: “Watch for a bright blue-green ‘head’ with a tail,” USA Today suggests. 

And put this eclipse on your calendar: a full lunar eclipse, “the biggest and best solar eclipse in American history … It will also be the first total solar eclipse to sweep across the entire country in 99 years, NASA says. And not since 1970 has there been an opportunity to see a total solar eclipse in such easily accessible and widespread areas of the nation.”

Mark your calendars: it’s going down August 17th.